Twitter on the Sh!tter: a fatherhood tradition passed down, and evolved

Saturday mornings in the Oxarart house are for breakfast.

Eggs are a mainstay. Most of the time so are sausage, bacon, and potatoes. Pancakes, French toast, and biscuits and gravy offer a change of pace. A pot of dark roast coffee waits for us when we wake up.

Around 9:30 a.m., after clean up, a likely scenario unfolds: I grab my phone and walk toward the bathroom as my wife shakes her head in disappointment.

It has been coined “Twitter on the Sh!tter.” It’s a tradition passed down from my father, though now evolved.

To my wife, it’s an incomprehensible and rather disgusting period of time reserved for mindless wandering and neglect of parental duties. To me, it’s an important time to relax, reflect, regroup and catch up on current events.

For the wives reading this: Please, PLEASE, respect and allow for Twitter on the Sh!tter.

“Gonna go read the paper…”

At Christmas, when I was a kid, my eyes would light up when I saw wrapped presents under the tree. I would race up the stairs to wake up my parents.

My dad, every year, would come up with every excuse in the book to delay the unwrapping process. He’d assign me chores: make coffee, divvy up the presents for each family member, grab his robe, grab the paper, shovel the driveway, rake leaves, you name it. I would obey knowing that the reward of opening presents was near.

Sometimes he would say, “OK, I just have to read the paper real quick.”

My response: “NOOOOO!!!!!!!!”

“Read the Paper” really meant “I’m gonna take a dump that will last much, much longer than usual.”

In addition to the paper, my dad had a stack of Sports Illustrated magazines next to his porcelain throne – a library that could keep him occupied for hours.

I never understood why “read the paper” sessions took so long until I had kids.

Next gen “reading material”

I love Twitter. It’s my news source.

As a former journalist, a print reporter no less, I understand the importance of current events, especially local news.

My father shared that appreciation. His method of consumption was a physical newspaper or magazine – mine is Twitter.

While many consume Twitter for cat gifs, celebrity gossip, and to write disparaging remarks to strangers behind the shield of a screen, I read it for news, sports and weather.

I mostly follow journalists and news outlets, not celebrities or parody accounts. It helps me catch up on what’s going on.

The difference now, and why I use it in the bathroom, is because things change when you have a kid.

I used to be able to sprawl out on the couch – beer in one hand, iPhone in the other – and scroll for 30 minutes, uninterrupted. Now, I have a 20-pound monster with Lake-Tahoe-colored blue eyes who will snatch that phone out of my hands as soon as she sees it.

I don’t have time to look at Twitter when she’s around. I’d much rather play with her instead.

Plus, I learned early on that nothing makes me feel more guilty (or pisses off my wife more) when my kid is begging for my attention and I’m glued to my phone.

Me time

So, that leads to a running joke in my house. After breakfast, two cups of Columbia Supremo (Costco special) and as my daughter naps in her crib, I’ll grab my phone.

“Oh, there he goes,” my wife will say. “See in you 20 minutes.”

I now know why my dad did it. It’s a peaceful place to get back some resemblance of my yester-life.

Gone are the days of day-drinking, night-drinking and watching sports on the weekend. It’s been replaced with trips to the park, snuggle time (when she lets me), baby talk, and other modes of quality family time. I would not have it any other way.

The need for me-time, though, still exists… and it is unapologetically in the form of Twitter on the Sh!tter.

(Side note: I have minor cases of OCD and germophobia. For those who think that my phone is a cesspool of poop germs, I sanitize the absolute hell out of it.)

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